It’s that time of year when Valentine’s Day moseys into town and calls you out for a good ol’ fashioned Wild West gunfight on Main Street. You know the drill—it’ll eyeball you unflinchingly for weeks beforehand, waiting for you to make your move (your move being a shaky-handed draw of flowers, a card, and dinner for two at a crowded, candlelit restaurant).
Fuck Valentine’s Day, the cynic in us wants to say, but that Barry White-looking angel on our shoulder won’t let it go. That saintly walrus of love knows that there are romantic ideals for a reason. But how to pull this off when the rest of your gender are clawing for the same two-top and bouquet you are? It’s easy to say fuck it; an AmEx survey of 1,500 people from last year reported almost a third of women in relationships thought V-Day was overrated, a proportion that’s probably higher if you’re reading this.
Take away the 24-hour time frame, and the flower shop has more than just stems. You won’t be straight-jacketed into a price-gouging prix fixe for lovers.
But avoiding the hassles of Valentine’s Day entirely has its pitfalls. You, it whispers to your partner, are not worth the trouble. That’s why—and we swear to Cupid we’re not Hallmark’s PR team—it’s time for Valentine’s Week for couples. Take away the 24-hour time frame, and the flower shop has more than just stems. The booked-up restaurant still has tables, and you won’t be straight-jacketed into a price-gouging prix fixe for lovers while wedged closer to the next patron than you are to your lady. The after-dinner stroll to a lookout point won’t be swarming with couples clutching bouquets, cuddly bears and heart-shaped helium balloons—that view is for you and your gal alone.
And most importantly, it brings back spontaneity to the romantic endeavor, while retaining the annual reminder to be nice and show someone you love them. Think this is still a risky maneuver? We don’t blame you, so we turned to the opinions of three randomly selected women.
Leah, 34, teacher
“[Valentine’s Day] is not important to me at all. I think it’s a Hallmark holiday. I would like my boyfriend to buy me flowers, but not just on Valentine’s Day. When I was single, every Valentine’s Day was the worst. But now that I’m in a couple I really don’t care about it. [Last year] we went to a Knicks game. I think celebrating the love you have for your lady friend should happen every day. Not just on Valentine’s Day. February the 13, February 15, whatever.”
Melissa, 28, works for a business strategy consulting firm
“I’ve been with my boyfriend for three years now, and we never do Valentine’s Day on Valentine’s Day. We always celebrate together and we’ll go to a nice dinner, but it’s never on your traditional Valentine’s Day. Restaurants are really hard to get reservations, and it doesn’t always fall on a weekend—if we’re working late it just doesn’t work out. Typically he’ll send me flowers at work, I’ll send him something at work and if that’s all we do on the day I’m fine with that. Even if he didn’t, you have so many days of the year to be happy with each other. Why be so stressed on this one day to have a put together romantic moment that’s not always authentic? It’s kind of like New Year’s Eve: It’s so much pressure to have a good time or have this special thing but it almost ruins it if you’re so focused on that goal.”
Jennifer, 31, policy analyst
“I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day. I just don’t focus on it. I have a husband that I’ve been with since 2005, and we always do special things like twice or three times a week. We just don’t see a need to do something special for it, for that specific day. Maybe other people need that, but it seems manufactured. When I was in high school and middle school with boyfriends we used to get really excited, get dressed up and go out and that was pretty exciting, but after that, probably not.”
Yikes. Perhaps it’s time to give up on Valentine’s altogether? Unless you’re the kind of person who gets excited for New Year’s Eve, are in high school and/or fail to show the proper love and attention year round. But really, can you really claim to fit in the one percent of human beings who fulfill the latter?
So treat Valentine’s Day like a gunfight. Don’t run from it, bide your time and use the element of surprise (an extra gunman on the roof/do something on February 13—we’ll let you decode which applies to which).